The Real Christmas

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Freed Minds. Any Questions?

“The ancients were afraid that if they went to the end of the earth they would fall off and be consumed by dragons. But once we understand that Christianity is true to what is there, true to the ultimate environment – the infinite, personal God who is really there – then our minds are freed. We can pursue any question and can be sure that we will not fall off the end of the earth.”

― Francis A. Schaeffer, Art and the Bible

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 1 (Deel 1) – Enigste Troos

Die Heidelbergse Kategismus het in 1563 in Heidelberg, Duitsland, tot stand gekom om te dien as ‘n leerboek vir skole. Dit is opgedeel in 129 vrae en antwoorde. So hoe relevant is dit vandag? Sondag #1 se vraag en antwoord dink ek is steeds so relevant soos 448 jaar terug. Persoonlik onthou ek dat voor die troos, soos hier onder vervat, was vrae oor betekenis van bestaan en doel van die lewe genoeg rede om nagte lank wakker te lê. Gelukkig is die wat troos vind (en gaan vind) by die ware Trooster (Matt 11:28-30).

Vraag:

Wat is jou enigste troos in lewe en in dood?

Antwoord:

Dat ek met liggaam en siel in lewe en in sterwe nie aan myself nie, maar aan my gertroue Verlosser, Jesus Christus, behoort. Hy het met Sy kosbare bloed vir al my sondes ten volle betaal en my uit alle heerskappy van die duiwel verlos. Hy bewaar my op so ‘n wyse dat, sonder die wil van my Hemelse Vader, geen haar van my kop kan val nie. Alles moet inderdaad tot my saligheid dien. Daarom verseker Hy my ook deur Sy Heilige Gees van die ewige lewe en maak Hy my van harte gewillig en bereid om voortaan vir Hom te lewe.

Trou, Kinders, Werk, Aansien, Huis, iPhone

Ons het Sondag geluister na ‘n preek deur Johan Verster oor “single” wees (1Kor 7). Die onderwerp is nie net van toepassing op die wat hunker na ‘n lewensmaat of kinders, maar trek ook ‘n parallel met die koester van die verganklike. Die soeke (miskien obsessie) met die ruiter op die wit perd of die redding van die prinses in die toring is tog maar net een van die voorbeelde van die verlange wat in ons teenwoordig is – en wat ons probeer vul. Ons is tog deel van die “as ek maar net dit het/haar het/hom het” kultuur.

Unieke situasie in ons tyd? Nee, John Owen spreek die bogenoemde 350 of so jaar terug aan:

“Look unto the things of this world – wives, children, possessions, estates, power, friends and honor.  How amiable are they!  How desirable unto the thoughts of the most of men!  But he who hath obtained a view of the glory of Christ will, in the midst of them all, say, ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee’ (Psalm 73:25).”

-John Owen, “The Glory of Christ,” in Works (Edinburgh, 1981), I:314. (geleen by Ray Ortlund se blog)

God is die enigste konstante (Mal3:6). Vind jy waarlik jouself tevrede in en met God?

 

Gaze Upon Heaven

In a sermon on heaven C.H. Spurgeon discusses what heaven is not and what heaven is. Here follows a “what heaven is”:

First of all, we think a Christian gets a gaze of what heaven is, when in the midst of trials and troubles he is able to cast all his care upon the Lord, because he careth for him.

“When waves of distress, and billows of affliction pass over the Christian, there are times when his faith is so strong that he lies down and sleeps, though the hurricane is thundering in his ears, and though billows are rocking him like a child in its cradle, though the earth is removed, and the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea, he says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Famine and desolation come; but he says, “Though the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall there be fruit on the vine, though the labour of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no increase, yet will I trust in the Lord, and stay myself on the God of Jacob.” Affliction smites him to the ground; he looks up, and says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” The blows that are given to him are like the lashing of a whip upon the water, covered up immediately, and he seems to feel nothing. It is not stoicism; it is the peculiar sleep of the beloved. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Persecution surrounds him; but he is unmoved. Heaven is something like that – a place of holy calm and trust”

 

Heaven, C.H. Spurgeon 16 Dec 1855

Lewe Asof Jy Doodgaan

Jonathan Edwards het aan homself voornemens gemaak, goed waaraan hy homself moes herinner. Gewoontes wat hy wou aanleer. Hy het weekliks na die voornemens gekyk.

Resolution #7:

Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

Wat ‘n gedagte! Hoe anders sou die afgelope uur in jou lewe gelyk het as jy geweet het dis jou laaste?

 

Faith, Saving.

“As in other things ’tis the dictate of the understanding, in conjunction with the clearness and liveliness of the idea, that determines the will, so it is in heavenly things: ’tis the determination of the understanding that the offer of the gospel is true, in conjunction with a clear and sensible idea of the excellence of it, that is true faith.

A man may in a sort believe that good people shall be happy forever, but have no notion of the excellence of such an happiness; and therefore it influences not his actions.”

Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies #212, (paragraphing added)